International Business Machines Corp (IBM) CEO Arvind Krishna has issued a statement indicating that the company may downsize its workforce in areas where artificial intelligence (AI) can effectively perform tasks.
In an interview with Bloomberg, the CEO stated that primarily office-based jobs are more susceptible to being replaced. Specifically, he highlighted positions within human resources and accounting departments, noting that these roles are highly likely to be automated by AI in the near future.
Krishna estimated that around 26,000 workers currently hold non-customer-facing roles, but he predicts that AI automation will reduce this number by about 30% in the coming years. His analysis suggests that these positions are highly susceptible to being replaced by advanced technology.
Bloomberg’s statistics reveal that IBM has a global workforce of approximately 282,000 employees, of which 26,000 are in non-customer-facing roles. However, with the CEO’s predicted reduction, IBM plans to cut down its non-customer-facing staff from 26,000 to 7,800, indicating a significant decrease in hiring.
The timing of this report is significant as it coincides with the growing interest in AI technology, exemplified by the advancements in tools like ChatGPT. AI’s rapid development has captured the tech world’s attention, making it a pivotal moment for companies like IBM to explore the potential of automation and its impact on the workforce.
Although IBM’s CEO has predicted a reduction in non-customer-facing staff due to AI automation, it is essential to note that not all roles will be replaced by technology. Certain positions, such as those in the HR department responsible for evaluating workforce composition, require a human touch that AI still needs to replicate.
This is because these roles involve a deep understanding of human behavior and emotions, something that technology still struggles to comprehend. As such, human judgment and intuition remain critical components in these areas of the company.
Furthermore, even as AI technology advances, it is essential to recognize that it cannot replace every aspect of the workforce. Some roles, such as those that require creative problem-solving or strategic decision-making, are only partially replaceable by automation.
These tasks require ingenuity and adaptability that only a human worker can provide. As such, it is unlikely that these roles will be eradicated in the next decade.